NASA is inviting U.S. students in grades 5-12 to participate in an essay contest about proposed missions to explore Saturn’s moon Titan and Jupiter’s moon Europa.

To enter, students must describe in 500 words or fewer why one of the proposed missions to these icy worlds is the most interesting of the bunch. Winning essays will be posted on a NASA website, and winners and their classes will be invited to participate in a video conference or teleconference with NASA scientists.

The proposed missions include exploring Titan with an orbiter and balloon and investigating Europa with a lander. Both missions would have science instruments to study their subjects—an exciting prospect for astrobiologists. Students are encouraged to include details of the science instruments they might include on these spacecraft to help with key investigations.

The deadline to enter the Titan & Europa essay contest is February 28, 2013. Questions can be sent to

To learn more about the contest, proposed missions and icy moons, visit Videos about astrobiology, Titan and Europa can be found at